Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Want to be able to buy used clothes after Feb 10th?

This story is copied from my friend's blog. Every mom needs to save money somewhere, and a lot of us choose to purchase second hand items, or sell our used children's items. If this law passes, we will no longer be able to do that. Do you have an etsy story where you sell things you've made? Chances are you'll lose that too. While it's important to protect our children from things that could contain something harmful (like the lead they found in some toys) to pass something so broad is going too far.

Here's one WAHM's story:

“Your outfit is absolutely adorable!” I heard a woman say behind me and my daughter replied with, “Thank you! My Mommy has a clothing business!” and I sighed. Sighing is not my usual reaction when I get a compliment for my work. The woman and her sister were very polite and had no idea that they had just brought to surface so many terrible feelings with their compliments, “You made her outfit? It's amazing! You really have talent and I've never seen anything so adorable.” They didn't have kids but talked about how they almost wished their biological clocks started ticking simply to shop for my line of clothes. I was completely flattered but almost muted because of the recent decision to close up my Immature Couture shop. When they asked where I sold my clothes I didn't have the energy to explain what was going on so I simply said “Online.” thanked them and went back to grocery shopping with the kids.

I want nothing more than to know that the toys my children play with are safe and will not cause them any harm. I understand the urgency to protect the children of this country from high levels of lead and stop the ridiculous recalls. What I do not understand is why these new regulations were passed with such carelessness that it requires testing for products that have virtually NO risk of lead contamination! Products like clothing, blankets, wooden toys and books! The CPSIA is essentially causing many small businesses that make products for children under the age of twelve to close up shop because of their haste in passing regulations that have an insane amount of loopholes. Congress decided that a problem caused by ridiculous and irresponsible mass-market toymakers should be solved with a solution that sucks in various other industries that are completely unrelated to toys!

Later on when the kids and I were checking out the two women approached me and asked for my business card because they wanted to tell their friends about my clothing line. I smiled and tried to explain to them as plainly as possible that as of February 10th I would be officially closing up shop because of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act . Shockingly they were outraged that they hadn't heard of it. That they felt their rights as consumers were being taken away. That the deadline is so close and there isn't a media outrage over it. That more small businesses are being shut down and allowing the big companies to triumph. We exchanged information, I gave them my card and they said they would be writing whoever they needed to and be in contact with me. They weren't business owners who are effected by this nor were they parents but they were as equally outraged as most of us that have to close our shops.

The apathy that I have seen from the general public and even those that own small businesses and are not effected by the new regulations have saddened me until I spoke with these two women. They were absolutely right! This does not just hurt my business. This hurts everyone no matter if they have children or not. No matter if they have a business selling products to children under twelve or selling something that, thankfully for them, does not have to be burdened with the CPSIA. Why don't more people care?

I loaded up the kids, put my groceries in the trunk and at that moment it finally hit me. Something I started as a side business for extra cash in hand and as a creative outlet was taken from me. Just when my business started to take off it was ripped from my hands, discarded and no real explanation for it. I sell clothes. Not jewelry. Not toys. Not anything that has been manufactured overseas or injected with lead. I design, cut, iron, serge, stitch and package every item of clothing myself. To comply with these regulations each product I made would have to be tested which means each indicidual component of the garment would have to be tested for lead. A 15$ onesie now costs 400$ to make simply because of the testing fees! I put sleepless nights into marketing plans, helping Etsy teams and writing blogs to help the handmade market. There is no reason for so many of us to be swept out of the way because some major corporations wanted to cut their overhead costs and put MY children in danger. I stood there and cried in the parking lot. There is no reason why so many handmade artists look away at the pain so many of us are going through simply because they are not in the same boat.

Do something. The children in this country need to be protected but by regulations that target only the products that can cause potential harm. If you don't do it for yourself and your business, or your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or friend's kids then do it for the sake of what's right and stop being silent and a doormat in our society"

Check out these links to do something to help!





1 comment:

Rosie said...

Heres the response I got from Rep. Jason Chaffetz' office. He's the only congreeman to respond so far...

"Thank you for contacting my office regarding the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. We appreciate your patience in regards to our response time. Starting a brand new office is exciting and challenging. We pride ourselves on prompt communications with our constituency and as we settle into our new office, our response time will be much quicker.

The CPSIA was introduced to the United States House of Representatives November 1, 2007 and sent to the United States Senate on December 19, 2007, upon passage of the bill by the House of Representatives (I was not a member of the Congress at the time, however, had I been, I would have voted against this bill). The bill was introduced, and ultimately passed, due to an increase in toy-related injuries caused by lead-based paint used on children's toys. Toys imported to the United States from China were of particular concern to the lawmakers who crafted the original legislation.

As is the case when the heavy hand of government gets involved in regulating the private sector, problems occur. The original legislative intent of this bill has been completely altered since President Bush signed this bill into law on August 6, 2008. The regulation of small business owners who manufacture children's books, apparel, and other various product is unreasonable and unfair.

On January 6, 2009, the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Henry Waxman, sent a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission requesting the Commission to exempt the below products from costly testing and certification procedures, specifically:

1.Children's books that have no unusual components or materials beyond those of an ordinary book; and

2.Children's apparel that consists entirely of dyed or undyed fabric that is unlikely to contain excess amounts of lead and does not include metal, plastic, or painted components that may contain lead in excess of the law's limit.

The Commission has the authority to evoke rule changes regarding the legislation. The rulemaking process is used by the Executive Branch to create or abolish rules based on the legislation that created the public law. The rulemaking process can be influenced by congressional leaders (aforementioned Waxman letter) and by public comment. The Consumer Product Safety Commission may be reached via their website, www.cpsc.gov. I recommend to all concerned parties contact the CPSC and express their concerns with the legislation. I have been in contact with my colleagues who serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee and they assure me they are using their positions of power to bring about a decision before the February 10, 2009 deadline.

Again, thank you and we look forward to hearing from you regarding any other problems or concerns you may have.
Jason Chaffetz
Member of Congress

Hopefully they will make the necessary changes to this law to make it fair and reasonable.